By RICK PETERSON
Entering the Class 4A state tennis tournament, Hayden senior Lauren Sandstrom and junior Emily Sheetz talked about ending their highly-successful three-year doubles partnership with a bang.
The Wildcat stars accomplished that goal on Saturday at Winfield's T.H. Vaughan Tennis Center, topping McPherson's Riggs Kuhn and Brodie Kuhn 6-1, 6-4 to win their second straight state title and their third state medal overall.
Sandstrom, who plans to play basketball in college, told TopSports.news earlier in the week that her biggest emotion came from the fact that she knew that the 2023 state meet was going to be her final tennis meet and her final tournament with Sheetz.
"It's been in back of my mind all season and these past two weeks it's been kind of sad,'' Sandstrom said. "I don't want to stop playing tennis but I'm just hoping that we get to go out with a bang.''
Sheetz, who teamed with Sandstrom to finish seventh at state in 2021, said it was important to her to send Sandstrom out in style.
."I'm a little nervous because it's Lauren's senior year and I just don't want to disappoint her,'' Sheetz told TSN. "It's our last time playing together this weekend, so I think I'm a little nervous about that but I'm pretty confident in both of us that we'll have a good weekend and end strong.''
Sandstrom and Sheetz ended the 2023 season with Centennial League, 4A regional and state titles after posting a runnerup finish in the city meet.
Sophomore singles player Grace Funk earned a state medal for the second straight season, placing 11th with an 8-3 win over Clay Center's Sarah Smith in the 11th-place match.
Hayden finished fourth as a team with 20 points.
Heights' Glasenapp Class 5A singles runnerup
Shawnee Heights junior foreign exchange student Jette Glasenapp will have a souvenir to take back to Germany next spring -- a state tennis medal.
Glasenapp ended an outstanding 36-3 season on Saturday at Salina, advancing to the state singles final before dropping a 6-0, 6-4 decision to Bishop Carroll's Brynn Steven, who won her second straight state title.
After getting shut out in the first set, Glasenapp regrouped to jump out to a 4-1 lead in the second set.
However, after Steven won three straight games to make it 4-4, Glasenapp injured her ankle while attempting a shot down the line, collapsing to the court in pain.
Unable to put much pressure on the ankle, she left the court to receive treatment, then returned to finish the match. But her chances against Steven were effectively dashed with the injury, which left Glasenapp without much mobility.
“She was in a lot of pain,'' Shawnee Heights coach Phil Hamilton said of Glasenapp. "When she came back there was not much left to do at that point. She was just going to try and fight through it, and she did the best she could. She showed a lot of heart. I’m really proud of her.”
Glasenapp's runnerup state finish followed a run of city, United Kansas Conference and regional titles.
“She was amazing in everything she did and had an incredible season,'' Hamilton said.
UKC and 5A regional team champion Seaman finished fifth as a team on Saturday, with both Viking doubles teams and freshman singles player Emma Sweeney all earning state medals.
Seaman senior Katie Krumins and sophomore Molly Gorman earned their second straight state doubles medals with a seventh-place finish while senior Kate Eckert and freshman Camryn Lux finished 12th.
Krumins and Gorman, who swept city, UKC and regional titles, took an 8-4 win over Bishop Carroll's Brooke Steven and Liza Dugan in the seventh-place match.
Sweeney finished off her first state tournament with an 11th-place singles finish, taking an 8-0 win over Abigail Coker of St. James Academy in the 11th-place match.
Shawnee Heights tied for sixth in the 5A team standings despite Glasenapp being the T-Birds' lone state qualifier.
Rural ties for fifth in 6A with multiple state medalists
After sweeping city, Centennial League and regional team titles, Washburn Rural tied for fifth in Class 6A Saturday at Junction City despite being shorthanded for the state meet.
Washburn Rural was without senior singles player Mena Di Marzio, who suffered a season-ending injury at regionals, but the Junior Blues were still a factor in the state meet, earning state medals in both singles and doubles.
Junior Carolina Chedzoy finished off her first season in Kansas with an eighth-place singles finish while the senior doubles team of Claire Ireland and Gabby Martinez placed eighth in doubles.
Chedzoy dropped an 8-4 decision in the seventh-place singles match while Ireland and Martinez dropped a tough 8-6 decision in the seventh-place doubles match.